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Clippers

Clippers lose by technical knockout to Timberwolves

The Clippers were boiling mad at the officials Monday night, the technical fouls flowing like water and the ejections coming in succession.

They were assessed four technical fouls in the important final five minutes of the fourth quarter.

They saw coach Doc Rivers and assistant coach Mike Woodson both get ejected in the last 7.4 seconds of the game.

So on a night when Blake Griffin collected his seventh career triple-double, when Lou Williams scored 20 points off the bench and when Andrew Wiggins torched the Clippers for 40 points, the story was about how L.A. lost its composure during a 126-118 defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves before 16,347 at Staples Center.

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Rivers was upset because the Timberwolves got to the free-throw line 39 times, making 33. He was upset because Jeff Teague shot 17 free throws, missing just one.

The Clippers shot 22 free throws, making 15.

“Up until the very end of the game, Teague had more free throws than our entire team,” Rivers said. “I thought we were driving and were just as physical as them. It’s rare when you’re the home team and the free throws are 39 to 22. And a lot of their fouls came down the stretch when the game was over. It wasn’t even as close as that.”

Rivers had seen enough, getting ejected with the Clippers about to go down 123-118 after Wiggins made the technical-foul free throw. Woodson took over, but he was ejected before any time moved off the clock, following Rivers into the locker room.

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“I literally got thrown out of the game for saying, ‘You guys gave us some tough calls tonight,’” Rivers said. “That was it. No swear words. Nothing.

“And the point I make all the time: If I earn a tech, I’m fine with it. But just like players can lose their composure, officials can lose their composure as well.”

Griffin (32 points, 12 assists, 12 rebounds) was called for a technical after Montrezl Harrell (23 points) had scored to give the Clippers a 108-106 lead.

Griffin’s technical gave the Timberwolves a point back when Teague made the free throw.

“Blake got a tech for saying, ‘Over my back,’ ” Rivers said.

Then with 2 minutes 33 seconds left, after Nemanja Bjelica made a three-pointer, Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell was hit with a technical after L.A. had called a timeout.

“Sam got a tech for saying, ‘Three seconds,’ ” Rivers said.

Teague made another free throw after that technical, putting the Clippers in a 117-112 deficit.

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“One ref told me I couldn’t talk,” Rivers said. “I thought I was the head coach. As long as I’m respectful, I can say whatever I want.

“That’s not why we lost the game. Where we lost the game was because of the offensive rebounding. They destroyed us [18-8], and [we lost] because they got to the free-throw line. It’s rare where you lose a game and you shoot 56%. And we lost that game.”

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner


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